I have had the opportunity to witness, and even work closely with people whom I consider to be great leaders in their respective fields. At the same time, I have also had to endure people who had similar assumptions of themselves when in actual fact, they were either controlling, micro-managing or shutting down the professional opinions of others. If you are looking to lead, remember these pointers:
- Say what you mean, mean what you say
There was this section manager in my previous company who always loved to portray himself as the good guy in front of his subordinates before stabbing them in the back whenever he met with his supervisors. He actively avoids taking responsibility and signing off on certain matters (even though that’s his job), but expects everyone else to take responsibility for even the smallest of mistakes. Eventually, everyone got wind of his tactics, and his reputation and accountability went down the drain. No one respected or trusted him after that. Moral of the story? If you want to be a great leader, stay true to your words and don’t let your actions contradict them. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
- Be the leader that you would want to follow
Put yourself in the shoes of your subordinates. What do they see when they look to you? Integrity? Empathy? Patience? Humility? What are the qualities you expect your team to possess? With the amount of power afforded by your position, the situation can easily end up going one way or the other. Ask yourself, “What kind of a leader do I want to be?” Lead, so that others will look to you and follow.
- Excellence should be habitual
Constantly strive to be the best leader that you can be for your team. If you’re tackling a task (no matter how small it may seem), always strive to do it to the best of your ability. This mindset will help set you in setting the right course towards excellence. When that becomes a habit, it will show in the amount of control you have over your life. Take charge of your processes and work towards excellence!
Being a leader can be tough. You need to know that sometimes, some of your actions may not always sit well with others. Justify your actions, listen to feedback and keep working towards excellence. In the end, as long as you know that you’re doing the right thing, let your actions speak for themselves and your team will have your back.